Travesty of education

Sujata recorded the conversation with the principal and shared it on her social media, which went viral in just the matter of a few hours.

Sujata recorded the conversation with the principal and shared it on her social media, which went viral in just the matter of a few hours.

Just when the world is busy paying tribute to fathers on Father’s Day, a mother has learned its importance in a hard way. In a rather surprising state of events, Sujata Mohite, a single mother from Nerul, has alleged that principle Saira Kennedy of St. Lawrence School in Vashi had denied admission to her son on the grounds of her being a single parent. Sujata recorded the conversation with the principal and shared it on her social media, which went viral in just the matter of a few hours.

“My son was studying in Poddar School which is a part of ICSE, and I wanted him to study in the State board so I chose this school. I am a working parent and can afford my child’s education,” says Sujata, who is a sales manager in a real estate firm and had separated from her husband four years ago.

Reiterating the incident, Sujata shares that she inquired about a vacancy in the school in April and was informed by the administration about a spot. However, when she went to the school with her son, the principal refused to admit him stating that there’s no vacancy. Later, Sujata approached her friend whose kids were studying in the same school. “I asked one of my references to check if there’s a vacancy in standard two for my son. There was one and when I went there the next day; they asked me to wait outside and called my friend in the office. She told my friend that they would not give admission to my son because I am a single parent. Later when I went to her cabin she was extremely rude,” she recalls. Despite this bias, Sujata was still ready to leave the place quietly but because the principal was rude and her ground for denying the admission was not legally right, she felt it necessary to post it on a public forum and recorded the video. “My son is just in second class, he has to study further. If my son has to go through this every time, then how will he cope?” she says.


So far, the country’s education system doesn’t have a rule of denying admission on this ground. However, in the video, the principle is seen reiterating that they don’t give such admissions as it becomes difficult to handle single parents. “Who made this law? As a school, they need fees and I am capable of paying. My monthly salary is equivalent to the entire year’s fees of my son,” she assures. She also tried to validate her statement by producing all her documents but was still denied the admission. Sujata in her video also questioned about the scenario when the father dies or parents get separated after the admission. The principle is seen responding with ‘it is then unfortunate but we don’t give admission in your cases’. “If the government has made the law that a mother can have the custody of a child, then why is the school denying the admission? Who is she to decide the criteria?” she asserts.

Many people including some mothers on the Internet have shared the video. A user named Khushboo had even asked if the principle has the same rule for Army kids. “Principal of St Lawrence high school in Vashi Navi Mumbai is denying to take admission for single-parent students. Does the Principal have the same rules for our Army kids??? Raise your voice against such rules by the school.”


Opinion | Planning higher education for your little one

 (Illustration: Sudhir Shetty)

Most of us have been part of family conversations that go, “When I was young, everything was so cheap” with multiple examples thrown in ranging from food items to petrol prices. The absolute changes in values are very significant, but when you put them down in numbers, the changes are mostly in line with inflation over the years. However, costs of education and health care have gone up at a significantly faster pace than other products.

Over the last 15 years we have been working with clients and their families on setting and monitoring their financial goals. One of the biggest shifts that we have noticed with respect to financial goals is the desire and dream to ensure that children get access to international education—either overseas or in institutions that offer international curriculums in India.

The shift to the dream of an “international” education has been driven by a combination of factors.

These include increased international exposure due to foreign travel for work and vacations, the proliferation of international schools over the last few years that have an experiential learning system rather than rote learning, the brutal competition domestically for the best institutions for higher studies, and of course, the significantly higher disposable incomes driven by salaries that are at global standards, as well as the increase in double income families.

How much money do you need for it?

The starting point to achieve this objective is to estimate the cost of education accurately. The cost will depend on the type of the course and the location of the educational institution. While estimating the amount, remember that factoring in only tuition fees is not enough. You should also consider other costs such as extra-curricular activities, living expenses, medical costs, books, supplies and travel cost of the child and parents. Living on or off campus could make a huge difference in costs too.

Impact of total inflation, not just education inflation

Since planning for education is usually a long-term goal, considering the right inflation rate is important as most people underestimate inflation rates and its compounding impact.

While that is probably true for general inflation, education inflation globally does tend to be much higher than general inflation.

Education inflation in the US, for example, is currently between 4% and 5% per annum, down from 6-7% per annum that it used to be, but still high enough that education costs double in 12-15 years. In addition, the exchange rate movement will also need to be factored in.

How you can save for this goal

Using a combination of the estimated cost of the education today, the total inflation and the number of years before this money is required, the total corpus needed can be estimated. The good news is that not all this money is likely to be required together, so a year-wise amount can be arrived at.

Accordingly, a portfolio investment strategy with a robust asset allocation will need to be developed in light of risk tolerance and historical returns of various asset classes.

Based on these estimations, you can arrive at an investment amount. While most investors tend to be overwhelmed by some of these numbers, it is important that the numbers are broken down into smaller amounts like monthly savings amounts and then increased over a period of time. Like most other goals, a high quality education goal(s) can be achieved, with the right planning, discipline and execution.


Opinion | New education policy misses a critical chance to address inequalities in system

Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower. (Mint)

The draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2019, is full of provisions that many in the education sector have been desperate to see for decades. The conferring of the Right to Education to children under six and above 14, doubling of the overall financial allocation to education and strengthening the teaching profession bring cheer. However, many of the policy’s omissions and contradictions, combined with the previous track record of central and state governments in implementing existing education policies, diminish this hope.

The omissions: While the policy talks about the need to bring “unrepresented groups” into school and focus on educationally lagging “special education zones”, it misses a critical opportunity of addressing inequalities within the education system. It misses to provide solutions to close the gap of access to quality education between India’s rich and poor children. It proposes to remove the expectations that all schools meet common minimum infrastructure and facility standards, and that primary schools be within a stipulated distance from children’s homes.

India’s schools already vary across the scale—from single room structures without water and sanitation, to technology-enabled international schools. Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower, widening this gap.

This is even more of an issue since it proposes a roll back of existing mechanisms of enforcement of private schools making parents “de-facto regulators” of private schools. Parents, and particularly poor and neo-literate parents, cannot hold the onus of ensuring that much more powerful and resourced schools comply with quality, safety and equity norms.

India should have moved towards a national system of education that shapes India’s next generation and enforce standards of quality across the country.

The contradictions: While the policy places considerable emphasis on the strengthening of “school complexes” (clusters of schools sharing joint resources) and decentralized mechanisms for supporting teachers, their everyday management appears to have been tasked to the head teacher of the secondary school in the cluster.

Furthermore, no separate funding appears to have been earmarked for this. This is false economy, since this is a full time activity and needs to be staffed and resourced accordingly.

Lessons from non-implementation of past policies: The policy’s implementation is predicated on the assumption that the education budget would be almost doubled in the next 10 years through consistent decade-long action by both the centre and states. However, the revenue is decentralized to the states and it is unclear what would be done to ensure that resources needed will be allotted. The sheer scale of changes expected, the rapid timeline, the absence of a strong mechanism for handholding states on this journey and the probable inadequate budget raises questions on the full implementation of this policy. India’s history is littered with ambitious education policies that have not been fully implemented. The National Education Policy risks following this tradition, unless the government addresses the reasons behind the past policy-practice implementation gap and makes conscious efforts to carry all of India on the same road towards improvement in education.


3-language policy: National Education Policy draft revised, 2 members object

3-language policy: National Education Policy draft revised, 2 members object

The criticism forced the HRD Ministry to issue a statement Saturday clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be finalised after incorporating public feedback and views of the state governments. (Representational image)

Two members of the government-appointed committee led by scientist K Kasturirangan are learnt to have objected Monday to their chairperson’s decision to revise a contentious paragraph in the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2018, dropping a reference to Hindi and English in the recommendation on the three-language formula.

Following protests by political parties, mainly in Tamil Nadu, on what they called the “imposition” of Hindi, the HRD Ministry, at Kasturirangan’s behest, has shared a revised document on its website, which dropped the recommendation that stipulated the languages that students must choose to study from Grade 6.

Committee members Ram Shankar Kureel, former founder vice-chancellor of Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences in Madhya Pradesh, and K M Tripathy, former chairperson of Uttar Pradesh High School and Intermediate Examination Board, are learnt to have registered their opposition to the revision of the draft with the government.

Responding to an email sent by an HRD Ministry official, informing all committee members of the change effected at the behest of Kasturirangan, Kureel is learnt to have called the move unfortunate, while Tripathy objected to the changes made without consulting the committee members — especially since the changes had been discussed and decided against during the panel’s deliberations. The panel has a total of 11 members.

When contacted, Tripathy refused to comment on the matter. Kureel told The Indian Express: “The committee had submitted the hard copy to the HRD Minister (on May 31) and that is the report of the NEP. I stand by that report. The three-language formula is in the interest of national integration.” He did not wish to comment any further.


The formula, the opposition

The three-language formula, dating back to 1968, means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, Hindi along with the regional language and English. Tamil Nadu has always opposed this policy, and the new row is over the draft NEP proposing its continuation.

Advocating for bringing in flexibility in the implementation of the three-language formula, the earlier version of the draft NEP, uploaded on the ministry’s website on May 31, read: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

The revised version states: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.”

The draft NEP was submitted to the new HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on May 31, following which it was made public for feedback and suggestion.

The earlier version of the draft’s pitch for the proper implementation of the three-language formula in schools across the country drew strong reaction from the DMK, which dubbed the suggestion as an effort to “thrust” Hindi on Tamil Nadu.

The criticism forced the HRD Ministry to issue a statement Saturday clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be finalised after incorporating public feedback and views of the state governments.


Forget Sats – find a true measure of education

pupils sitting an exam

 ‘The way we evaluate schools, as well as the way we teach and assess pupils, have to be rethought,’ writes Mary Bousted. Photograph: David Jones/PA

Amanda Spielman may be warning the wrong people about exam anxiety, certainly as far as younger kids are concerned (Ofsted chief says teachers can cause ‘subliminal’ exam anxiety, May 14). My 10-year-old is not worried because I have told him Sats are irrelevant to his life. His secondary school will determine how best he will fit in, based on its own testing, when he gets there in September. I did ask him to do his best in sympathy with the people who are sweating it out this week: his excellent teachers, whose lives – and the rating of the school – depend on how he does at rote nonsense.

Meanwhile, the true quality of his education is illustrated by the year 6 leavers’ scrapbook year after year, which always tells the same story: the stellar moments each child remembers are extracurricular experiences such as acting in plays, spending a week together on Exmoor or learning about Mary Anning in Lyme Regis. We parents can also play our part – as a lawyer, I have supervised the trial of three teachers for “murdering” the headteacher, with the local police arriving to oversee the investigation. (They were all acquitted by exemplary 10-year-old jurors, I am glad to say.)

We should deliver a token of our respect and thanks to the anxious teachers when the Sats end on Thursday. Meanwhile, when will the government accept that teachers should be allowed to inspire, rather than having to cram tedious material down the throats of their enthusiastic goslings? Perhaps begin by allowing them a free day a week to seek out the child’s passion.
Clive Stafford Smith
Symondsbury, Dorset

 Fiona Millar warns us of the risks of abolishing Sats and says we should not go back to the pre-testing days of the early 1990s (Education, 14 May). But no one in the debate reignited by Jeremy Corbyn and Layla Moran is advocating a system without assessment. The right kind of assessment matters, because we need to support pupils’ learning more effectively. It matters because we need to identify problems in schools and put them right. There is no dispute about this.

What Corbyn and Moran – like the OECD and many national governments – have pointed out is that the system we have neither supports learners nor provides useful information about schools. That’s why it needs to change. Nor is anyone suggesting that changes to assessment alone will be enough to mend the damage done to our primary schools. The way we evaluate schools has to be rethought, as does the way we teach and assess pupils. To this end, we need to think boldly and comprehensively. Millar’s approach, which points to the size of the problems as a reason to doubt the capability of reformers to address them, falls short of what is required.
Dr Mary Bousted
Joint general secretary, National Education Union

 Most present and past teachers, like myself, could confirm the sense of the research finding in your report (Teacher assessment could take place of many tests, study says, 13 May). Most have been arguing for years about the negative effects of excessive testing and league tables.

Teachers work closely with students to help them make progress in their learning, while nurturing their wellbeing. It is their job – in my case, a vocation and what I spent four years training to do. I hope politicians will heed this research.
Ann Moore
Stocksfield, Northumberland

 Not long after I read your report on research suggesting that replacing exams with teacher assessments “would arguably benefit the wellbeing of students … and help to bring joy back to the classroom”, my son told me that after his first GCSE paper on Monday some of his fellow students found it so difficult that they were in tears. It wasn’t so long ago that he said he wasn’t being taught to learn, more to pass exams. Add the drop in students doing foreign languages because the papers are too hard – people should look at maths too – and it’s easy to conclude that our education system is deeply flawed.


‘Indian Campuses Under Siege’ Says Fact-Finding Jury of Human Rights Defenders

'Indian Campuses Under Siege' Says Fact-Finding Jury of Human Rights Defenders

New Delhi: In the last few years, the number of universities in Gujarat has swelled from 15 to over 50. “But these universities have no buildings, professors, vice chancellors, clerks, registrars, etc. Several of them are said to be in primary government schools or in tehsildar’s office.”

Professor Hemant Kumar Shah, of the well-known H.K. Arts College of Ahmedabad, stated this to a fact-finding jury put together by a nation-wide collective of human rights defenders called the People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS), to delve into the state of university campuses since 2014.

Professor Hemant also added that the shortage of teachers “was so bad” in his state that he was asked by his head “to teach environmental science to all second semester students in the college together in the hall which has a seating capacity of 735 people, since the college didn’t have enough teachers to take division-wise classes”.

In February, Shah was in the news for resigning from his post as the in-charge principal of the college protesting the trust body’s decision to cancel an event in the institution featuring its alumnus Jignesh Mewani.

Ramakant, a student of the fine arts department of Patna University could identify with Shah’s outlook on the shortage of teachers in government-funded universities and colleges, mainly stemming from an increased cut in funding. Ramakant and fellow students have been demanding the appointment of permanent teachers among other facilities in their university for some time now. He told the jury members comprising PCSDS’ People’s Tribunal on Attacks on Educational Institutions in India that,

“The university doesn’t have any permanent teacher and even the ad-hoc teacher has been removed.”

The report, 'Indian Campuses Under Siege' Credit: Special Arrangement

The report, ‘Indian Campuses Under Siege’ Credit: Special Arrangement

The state of Delhi University is marginally different, he said, because although there are 5000 vacancies, “almost all are filled with or operated by ad-hoc teachers.”

Such testimonials of students and teachers – of as many as 50 institutions and universities from across 17 states – are now a part of a one-of-a-kind report on the condition of various university campuses under the Narendra Modi regime. The report, titled ‘Indian Campuses Under Siege‘, was launched in New Delhi on May 7, 2019.

According to Anil Chaudhary, the convener of PCSDS, a total of 130 testimonies of students and faculty members were received from these states between April 11 and 13, 2018. They spoke to the jury comprising Justices (retired) Hosbet Suresh and B.G. Kolse Patil, professors Uma Chakravarty, Amit Bhaduri, T.K. Oommen, Vasanthi Devi, Ghanasyam Shah, Meher Engineer and Kalpana Kannabiran besides journalist-columnist and The Wire‘s public editor Pamela Philipose.

It points out the drastic cut in funding universities, leading to a shortage of teachers and a steep hike in course fees (in some cases from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000, triggering the drop-out of students from mainly to SC, ST and OBC groups). Other key findings include centralisation of the admission process; increased privatisation of institutions through policy changes; distortion of history, syllabus and saffronisation of education; appointing loyalists as university heads; the rise of Hindutva forces within the campuses; suppression and criminalisation of dissenting voices; and use of legal measures to curb students’ protests.

The report records, in detail, many cases of students and faculty members who have had to bear the brunt of it, several of them belonging to marginalised sections of society.

The report also says,

“Testimonies presented by students and faculty before the jury revealed a socially exclusive and unjust system prevailing in the higher education institutions, designed to replicate the marginalisations in society. As revealed from the testimonies, the attacks of privatisation and authoritarianism in the campuses have changed in the social composition of students on campus, directly impacting the marginalised sections of society, in particular, the SC, ST and OBC. Coupled with this, the educational institutions have failed to address the systems of oppression and discrimination faced by students both inside and outside the campus on the basis of caste, language, gender, secularity, religion and region.”

From the launch of the report in New Delhi. Credit: Special Arrangement

From the launch of the report in New Delhi. Credit: Special Arrangement

Recording his testimony before the jury, Abhay Flavian Xaxa from the Campaign for Dalit Human Rights said ‘intellectual lynching’ of ST, SC and OBC students is occurring during the present regime. This, he said, is done in three ways: “physical discrimination, fiscal discrimination and barriers put up against the policies meant for the educational development of ST, SC and OBC students.”

Offering an instance, Xaxa pointed out that under a new directive on reservation for faculties, “in the Indira Gandhi Tribal National University at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, they advertised 52 positions for professors, assistant professors and associate professors. However, not a single post has been given to ST and SC candidates.”

The jury felt, “there has indeed been a systematic onslaught on the very idea of higher education in India…this is deliberate since an educated gentry can put questions to those who rule and is essential for the furthering and deepening of democracy.”


Closing the early education gap for rural families

The mountain of evidence that early childhood education has profound and life-long effects for students has been building for decades. Educators have made efforts to expand access to high-quality early education opportunities, but that access is not evenly distributed–rural communities are often left out of the loop entirely.

Approximately one in five Americans live in rural areas, and, according to the Center for American Progress, 59% of rural areas are defined as “child care deserts.” This term refers to areas that have fewer available child care spots than there are children in need of them. Even more concerning, there’s no guarantee that those available spots even offer high-quality preschool instruction.

My formal title is director of curriculum and instruction at Greenburg Community Schools, but I also serve as the coordinator for our Federal Title I, Title II, Title III, and Title IV and Rural and Low Income Schools grants, as well as those for high ability and gifted students.

These positions allow me to see where students are when they enter our school system at the kindergarten level and watch them evolve, experience, and mature through graduation. We see students who have been enrolled in childcare facilities since they were six weeks old, others who have attended preschool for two or more years, and still others who have never been away from home before they enter kindergarten.

I have found that there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to providing early learning opportunities for rural communities, but at-home, online programs are helping to fill the gap.

The Challenges

A lack of available preschool options isn’t the only challenge facing rural parents seeking to educate their children. With more than a quarter of rural children coming from economically disadvantaged families, cost is also a significant issue. In my own experience working with rural populations in Indiana, I’ve seen this firsthand. Many parents are unemployed or underemployed. They may be working but no longer able to earn a living wage after factories that paid upwards of $20 an hour have closed, forcing them to make due on part-time work from temporary staffing agencies that pay $9–$15 an hour. Some preschool options can cost as much as $200 per week, which puts them firmly out of reach for many rural families.

Transportation is another significant hurdle. Rural communities are geographically isolated. Coupled with the grim economic picture, this means many families cannot take their children to preschool, either because they cannot afford it or because they don’t have flexible enough working hours to take them. A lack of public transportation in these rural areas often takes preschool completely off the table as an option.

The Solution

Luckily, the answers are suggested by the challenges themselves. If high-quality early education is too expensive for rural families, let’s educate their children at no cost to them. If transportation woes prevent them from taking their children to free high-quality options, let’s bring those options to them.

One organization I partner with–the nonprofit–offers an online early learning solution called Waterford UPSTART, which is designed to help children develop early literacy, numeracy and science skills.

I had previously worked with this organization when I was at a larger district. While there, I saw how the platform helped struggling and at-risk students prepare for kindergarten. When I moved to my current position at Greensburg, we adopted it as an early intervention tool with the help of an Early Intervention Literacy Grant.

All of our kindergarten students and our seven kindergarten teachers at Greensburg use Waterford UPSTART. I also serve as a local education partner with the organization for a project in which they provide the program free to pre-K students. Participating children are asked to spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week working with the program. If the family doesn’t have a computer, Waterford provides one. If they don’t have internet access, that’s provided free of charge as well through programs such as an EIR grant.

Families get their own academic coach, who monitors the frequency and duration of use and checks in with them frequently to ensure their children are neither over- or under-using the program. My role is to help promote the program in our district and identify students eligible for the free benefits.

Connecting with Families

As an educator, it has been a joy getting to know the local families I’ve had the privilege to work with and watching “my” children grow from our first meeting through our frequent family engagement events. In April, Greensburg Community Schools will hold its annual Kindergarten Round Up, where we’ll hold an open house for our new students and their families before administering baseline assessments for all incoming kindergartners. I look forward to comparing my online pre-K students’ results to those of their peers and cheering them on as they progress through their academic careers.


How technology is helping teachers redefine education

Vineeta Garg, an educator at the SRDAV Public School in Delhi, uses virtual reality (VR) to make teaching more impactful for her students.

“VR helps me to take my students anywhere in the world – from Mount Everest to the Statue of Liberty,” she said. “My students could easily learn history by visiting stunning ancient ruins in Greece or significant war sites in Vietnam without leaving the classroom.”

Garg was one of the educators selected to attend the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) in Paris in recognition of her use of technology in education.

VR field trips

Similarly, Mohammed Fazil uses virtual reality to take his students in Bengaluru on virtual field trips. The students explore the Taj Mahal and national parks, go on underwater expeditions and then write about their experience. He also uses a Microsoft Kinect controller to get the students to play motion-sensing math games such as Jumpido.

Technology in education is also making an impact in rural areas. In a zila parishad school in the Warud village of Maharashtra, a 31-year-old schoolteacher, Amol Bhayur, has not only deployed Amazon’s Alexa, but also installed the device inside a self-designed robot to pique the curiosity of the students.

“Armed with a power bank, a mannequin, an Echo smart speaker, and a mobile hotspot in the absence of wireless internet infrastructure, Amol was now ready to debut Alexa into the classroom,” said the company’s blog. He has realised that Alexa could be a game changer for education, the blog said.

“The emergence of technology has had a profound impact on the educational landscape, especially in rural India,” said Lloyd Mathias, senior technology executive and former Asia Marketing Head of HP. “It has helped in learning. It helps students have an active engagement with the learning material. By using the internet, students can research real issues, keeping their learning contemporary and relevant. The internet or software tools can help them create virtual communities that connect them in real-time with other students and teachers,” he said.

Tech solutions for the world

India is one of the first few countries to receive grants from’s $50-million global commitment to support non-profits that are building tech-based solutions to tackle challenges in education in developing countries. “We are committed to enabling and democratising access to high quality, world-class education to everyone. Our objective is to ensure that India’s large developer and student community can equip itself with all the latest technology, and inspire them to not only build products to solve the needs of users in India, but also for the world,” said the company.

The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert programme, created to recognise global visionaries in the field of education who use technology to pave the way for their peers in the effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes, has a community of 660 educators from India.

“By leveraging the power of technology, these passionate teachers are adopting new approaches to teaching and learning, and are reinforcing critical skills in today’s youth in India,” said Manish Prakash, Country Manager – Public Sector, Healthcare and Education,Microsoft India.


Incorporating missing digital elements in formal education in India

education in India

A very essential part of the skills that are missing in Indian education system are digital skills. In the digital world that we live in, most of the everyday tasks are done online or on a computer. The world is an extremely data driven world, writes Siddarth Bharwani, Vice President – Brand & Marketing, Jetking.

The Indian Economy is one the fastest growing economies in the world. With an expected growth rate of 7.3% in 2019-2020, experts believe that India will soon become the third largest economy in the world after US & China. However, the ground reality of this growth rate is quite different. If we look at the employment scenario in the country, we realise that India is not doing very well. The unemployment rate in the country is extremely disproportionate to the growth rate the country is witnessing. A closer look at the job market in the country will reveal that this paradox is due to a simple but major reason: the disconnect between formal education in India and the expectations of recruiters.

To make sense of that data and to get maximum utilisation of the plethora of opportunities that a business is getting these days, it is important to harness students with ways to make use of them to make them more employable. Let’s enumerate the 3 most essential skills that need to be an integral part of the curriculum today.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an extremely influential aspect of marketing today. Students that have an understanding of SEMand know how to capitalise on it will be seen as a great asset for an organization to upgrade their online search visibility. Companies spend hours updating their website and their content to make sure that they can effectively capture a larger audience. While most companies train their employees on SEO & SEM, it is a great advantage for students to have a working knowledge of them while applying for jobs.

Data Analytics

Data has become the hot word in every organisation’s dictionary. With the digitised world, there is an excess of data available which is extremely difficult to sift through and make sense of. Data Analytics is the study of various analytic tools and processes through which you can derive relevant insights and information through the refinement of raw data. Students need to be equipped with at least a basic knowledge of data analytics so that they know how to read and understand large chunks of it in a faster and more efficient manner. Companies prefer being backed by data instead of just going by trends which is why it is an important function to include into the formal education system.

Social Media Analytics

Social Media has taken the world by storm. Brands across the globe spend a lot of manpower and budget on creating efficient social media strategies. It is constantly changing and coming up with new ways for companies to stay relevant to its customers. The fact that people now spend over 50% of their time online just goes to show how important it is to include something as seemingly simple as social media into formal education system in India.

Apart from enhancing digital capabilities, it is also important to imbibe in student certain other life skills to ensure employability. Most of the education imparted is in theoretical with little or no exposure to the practical implications of the theories learnt. Recruiters often find it hard to hire people due to the lack of an understanding of the outside world and how the industry works. Soft skills like flexibility, leadership, teamwork, etc. is missing in the education system. These skills are acquired from practical exposure and it is important to allow students to experience and learn them while they are a part of the system. Recruiters look for candidates who know how to think outside the box and are able to think on their feet. The notion that these traits are something that people are born with is a myth. With practice and learning innovative thinking methods, it is possible to learn to be a critical thinker and an all-round performer.

The key to bridge this gap is through digitisation of the education system and bringing in innovative teaching pedagogy into the curriculum. E-learning has gained great traction in recent times in the education industry. The rampant increase in internet connectivity and data consumption has led to e-learning a spot in the centre stage of the education industry. Apart from providing access to education from anywhere, e-learning also allows professors to individually attend to all students giving them a better and more effective way of bridging the gap in the education system. Additionally, the role of teachers needs to change to create the link between the missing elements of the system. They need to be facilitators and not the leaders in a classroom. Attention should shift from teachers talking to students engaging and participating to motivate them to grasp more information.

To conclude, India needs to be more aware of the skill-gap and find ways to address it. Government bodies like National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) are created to deal with it but the awareness of this problem still exists. It is the duty of more educational institutes to create opportunities for its students to learn these important skills and make them job-ready. While corporates are making their own effort in skill-training by associating with various institutes to create specialised courses to suit their needs, educational institutes need to integrate these skills into the values of their organisation and curriculums. Only then will the country truly see the growth that it boasts of.


Everything you need to know about the education loan: Step by step guide

education loan, education loan in india, education loan eligibility criteria, online application for educational loan, education loan application form, supporting documents for educational loan

These points will help you get an education loan easier.

Education is becoming quite expensive day by day. If you want to complete your education without burdening your parents or guardians or if you are unable to meet the expenses of your higher education, then you can go for educational loans. The first step towards taking an education loan is to meet an eligibility criteria for getting a loan in India.

Education loan eligibility criteria

1. Nationality

An applicant should be an Indian National to avail an education loan in India.

2. Age criteria

An applicant with 18 years of age can avail an education loan or your parents can take the loan in their name. No educational loan is given if you are above the age of 35 years.

3. Admission to an educational course

The applicant should have confirmed admission in a college/university in India by the UGC/Government/AICTE/Appropriate authority.

4. Percentage

An applicant must have secured at least 60 percent in previous qualifying examinations.

Step by step guide:

Here the most important education loan eligibility criteria information.

The application process may vary from bank to bank, but there are some fundamental steps to get one:

Step 1: The loan application form

The applicant has to fill in an application form which may ask for details such as:

  • Two passport size photographs
  • Graduation, secondary school certificate, or High school certificate or mark sheets
  • KYC documents (Voter ID, and PAN card) that include ID, address, and age proof
  • Signature proof
  • Parents income proof
  • For collateral– Documentation for Immovable property, FDs

Applicant/candidate if applying for a loan to study abroad will need to provide the documents below:

  • Two passport size photographs
  • KYC Documents Voter ID, and PAN card) that include ID, residence and age proof
  • Mark sheet or certificates of the last examination passed
  • Proof of admission to the university and the course
  • Schedule of course expenses
  • A copy of the scholarship letter (If you have)
  • Last six months bank account statement of the borrower, parents or guardian
  • Last 2 years’ Income Tax assessment of borrowers, parents or guardians
  • For collateral- The details of security offered. If required, the candidate has to provide an advocate’s search and report about its marketability, mortgage ability, etc.
  • Applicants migration proof.

Step 2: Personal discussion

Once the applicant is done with the application form, there is a round of personal discussion with the bank employee wherein he/she may be asked various question relating to the academic performance, about the course/ subject one has selected, probably the institute etc.

Even there are some banks that hold the academic record important.

Step 3: Applicant need to provide supporting documents

Before the bank considers the loan application, the applicant needs to deposit the mandatory documents related to admissions. The bank needs the documents to verify the enrollment of the student the concerned institute.

If your loan amount is above Rs. 4 then the applicant may also require collateral security such as papers relating to the property to be mortgaged.

Step 4: Approval or denial of loan

A guarantor is mandatory for an education loan. The applicant’s parents or guardians could be the guarantor. The bank before sanctioning the loan will run a thorough check of the guarantor and his/her credit history.

After completion of the process, the bank can sanction or deny the applicant’s loan.

Step 5: Disbursal of the loan

Once the formalities are completed by the applicant, the bank will disburse the loan. The bank pays out the college/institute fee directly to the concerned institute.

Online application for education loan

Students can also apply for loan through online application

An education loan has been made even easier with an addition of online application. The applicant can now apply for an education loan online. The bank will sanction the loan only if the applicant and principal contact for actual approval and disbursement of the education loan.